A bonus to have a view of these touring bands brought to the masses out in the wilds of Chester. Well, the view is not the best in the upstairs room of The Compass and masses consists of thirty or so people but getting the French headliners to drop by our doorstep is something I was thankful for. Those thanks should be directed to Chris who has picked up promoting reins and hopefully there was enough of a success about tonight for him to continue in his efforts.

When I’d first checked out the headliners I’d found them a bit too much on the jazz/tech side of the grind fence for my tastes, but then a link was put up to their album of last year, “Lowgazers” that properly blew me away so I was very much looking forward to this up close and personal gig. Got a lift up to Chester with Straight EdgeTaxi Services of Rhyl and we were there just about in time for the prompt start with Noyade (below).

Instantly recognisable as the guys formerly of Stuck in a Rut, not sure why the Scousers have evolved into this band but they certainly delivered a similarly sharp and punchy metallic hardcore set, perhaps with a somewhat darker vibe than their previous incarnation. With raster riffing resembling Slayer at times but also a good line in heavy breakdowns and Lee’s nonchalant but provocative banter keeping the attention, it was a good opener for the evening

Treated to the live debut of Lake Baikal (above) next, but given that the band is made up of members of Corrupt Moral Altar and our promoter drums for Dragged Into Sunlight there is a wealth of experience to draw up from the depths there. That they were restricted to a three piece instead of their normal five due to their late fill in on the bill didn’t matter at all, as the blend of melancholy post metal and blackened doom was a lulling pleasure to let wash over you. A particularly ferocious/unhinged roaring vocal from frontman Chris captures all in range in the twisted grip of the dark atmospheres they conjure, look forward to more from these guys.

My previous experience of Brighton’s Oblivionized (above) was during a particularly hectic London trip and a rammed venue, there was a margin more comfort to see them here, although that did also mean we had the full force of their grind onslaught. Also a three piece for live, they are a mix of complex tech riffing and staccato structures that occasionally give us some mental respite through breaking it up with more riffy breaks, or even more varied elements of almost hiphop beats or Jane’s Addiction style licks! The gruff, crusty vocals from Zak intertwine well with the backing from the guitarist, and the epic drawn out end number is a good demonstration of their strength across the board, check out their invigorating vibes on new album “life is a struggle, give up”.

Stripped to the waist and obviously meaning action came our headliners, Plebeian Grandstand (above, and top) to close the evening. From the start it was a face-melting blast of harsh, grind action. The combination of the hyperspeed riffs keyed into a drummer who was part animal, part precision robot gave a wall of distorted power to be savoured. For some reason the singer reminded me of a young Danzig with his energy on stage having an edge and threat to it as he spat up lung tissue. A core of dark aggression like Nasum or Rotten Sound but expanded to have a grander howling scale that pushed it into the black metal territories, it was engulfing like an avalanche but with the pacing to enjoy the ride. Great stuff, and certainly flew by.

Top selection of diverse extreme bands, same old story with the turn out, you know what to do if you want to see more of this occurring, hope so.

credit to Friswell Photography for the better of the pictures!